What little girl doesn’t dream of visiting the castles of Disney movies? Well, the most important lesson I took from these movies is that dreams do come true! There are many famous castles in Germany, and there are German palaces that you won’t believe exist outside of fairy tales. So what are you waiting for? Check out the most stunning castles in Germany and plan your visit to the most famous German palaces!
Popular itinerary in Germany:
The iconic “New Castle” is among the most famous palaces in Germany. It was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a private retreat and, rather than using public funds, it was paid for privately from his personal fortune and loans. Since Ludwig’s death in 1886, the castle has been open to the public and has been visited by over 61 million people, with over 1.3 million annual visitors. A symbol of romanticism, Neuschwanstein is said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
King Ludwig II’s desire for an impressive castle is understandable when you learn that Hohenschwangau was his childhood home. Built on the ruins of an old fortress, the area was discovered by Ludwig’s father Maximilian II who fell in love with the beautiful scenery. Construction of the Gothic-style castle began in 1833 and additions were made until 1855. The interior of this German castle is decorated with depictions of medieval stories and poetry.
Built from 1840 to 1842, this stunning Neo-Gothic castle belongs in the realm of fairy tales, princesses, and knights. Located on the cliffs of the Swabian Alps on a site where a 12th century castle once stood, the ruins were rebuilt in the 19th century. One of the most famous German castles, Lichtenstein is accessible only via a stone bridge which stretches to the neighboring hilltop. The castle’s interior boasts an impressive weapon collection.
A well-preserved 11th century medieval castle in Germany, Wartburg has attracted a lot of attention over the years. In the 13th century, it was the home of St. Elisabeth of Hungary, and, in the 15th century, it was where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. Today, Wartburg is the second most visited attraction in the Thuringia region. You can visit the museum and visitors of all ages can ride donkeys up the hill!
Sanssouci is located in Potsdam near Berlin. Among the most ornate of the German palaces, it is often compared to the Palace of Versailles in France. While Germany is a relatively small country, the palace was originally built as a retreat for Frederick the Great of Prussia and served as his summer home. Today, the palace holds Frederick the Great’s library and is home to breathtaking terraced gardens and several beautiful and interesting temples.
Declared an imperial castle by King Konrad III in the 12th century, Reichsburg Cochem is one of the grandest of the German castles. It was destroyed by the French in the Nine Years War and was left abandoned until a 19th century businessman purchased it and reconstructed it in Gothic revival style. Walk up the hill to see this beautiful castle and take in the amazing views of the surrounding area.
Located in the Harz Mountains overlooking Wernigerode in Saxony-Anhalt, this is one of the most famous castles in Germany, and, based on existing documentation, it dates back to the 13th century. Visitors can enjoy a lovely interior court, entertainment for adults and children, and seasonal events and festivals.
Records of this German castle date as far back as the 10th century. Originally serving as a fortress, Schwerin is situated on an island with strategic and aesthetic significance. Due to its position, the castle has a rich and fascinating history and, according to legend, is even haunted by a good-natured goblin named Little Peter who lives in the cellar vaults.
This fairy tale castle is located at the top of Mount Hohenzollern overlooking the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen. Dating back to the 11th century, it is a famous German castle which was destroyed and rebuilt in a stronger form in the 15th century. By the end of the 18th century, the medieval castle fell into disrepair and was restored for King Frederick William IV of Prussia in the 19th century. Still standing today, the castle is home to many historic artifacts and hosts over 300,000 visitors per year – making it one of the most visited German castles.
Burg Eltz: This magnificent medieval castle sits in the hills between Koblenz and Trier, overlooking the Moselle River. This German castle is still owned by the family that originally inhabited it, dating back over 33 generations to the 12th century. Most of the castle is open to the public, but a portion of it remains private for the family.